A COUNTRYMAN'S son by accident trod upon a Serpent’s tail, which turned and bit him so that he died. The father in a rage got his axe, and pursuing the Serpent, cut off part of its tail. So the Serpent in revenge began stinging several of the Farmer’s cattle and caused him severe loss. Well, the Farmer thought it best to make it up with the Serpent, and brought food and honey to the mouth of its lair, and said to it: “Let’s forget and forgive; perhaps you were right to punish my son, and take vengeance on my cattle, but surely I was right in trying to revenge him; now that we are both satisfied why should not we be friends again?”
“No, no,” said the Serpent; “take away your gifts; you can never forget the death of your son, nor I the loss of my tail.”
Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten.
In medieval prose Phædrus; also in Gabrias, a medieval derivate of Babrius, though not now extant in either Phædrus or Babrius. Certainly Indian, for as Benfey has shown, the Greek and the Latin forms together make up the original story as extant in Fables Bidpai. (See Jacobs, Indian Fairy Tales, xv.; "The Gold-giving Serpent," and Notes, pp. 246, 247.) The fable has found its way among European folk tales in Germany, Poland, and Iceland.
Man and the Serpent, The
Fables of Aesop, The
Aesop & Jacobs, Joseph
Macmillan & Co.
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ATU 285A: The Man and the Wounded Snake